Hatha yoga is a great way to tone and build strength in the body.
The arms are an extension of our heart center, the energy space of unconditional love in the body. The arms help us connect with the external world, manifest affection and kindness through physical action
Toning the arms is not just about having nicely sculpted arms, but more about bringing our awareness to this part of the body and honoring it. We learn to respect every part of the physical self and appreciating its ability to transform and develop. Strength in the arms means strength of the emotional self, self-trust and knowing we have the inner strength to pick ourselves up should we fall in life. And we do, many times.
Working with our body weight instead of just lifting weights, helps the prana, our life force to flow more freely so that we can feel freedom in these areas and release tension and blocked energy from the arms.
Our shoulders are the space in the body where we carry the weight of the world. Are you doing too much externally and not honouring your own needs? Do you worry too much about the future or continue to live in the past?
Working on building strength in our shoulders allows us to create a balanced view of the world, to be open to the world and to not take on too much pressure but instead going through each experience without any fear of being judged or rejected, and with confidence and emotional awareness.
Our hands are part of our creative centre, with our hands we can create, build things and manifest. We can give and we can receive. Strengthening the wrists creates power in this area so we can provide our hands with support and to move freely.
1. Kumbhakasa or plank pose – helps tone the arms and the core;
2. Vasisthasana – Side plank
4. Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward facing dog
5. Parivrtta Adho Mukha Svanasana – Revolved downward facing dog
6. Catur Svanasana – Dolphin pose
7. Purvottanasana – Upward plank
Working on our upper body strength through hatha yoga, to create more balance throughout the torso.
This doesn’t mean we just want to tone this area, although this is important for the development of the muscles and healthy activity of the organs in the upper physical body.
It’s also important to take in consideration the energetic flow of prana, the life force. What area of the upper body you feel tightness in? As you go through these 3asanas, notice how your body feels in each one, and allow it to simply experience each asana knowing that you have the ability to shift your inner strength into your physical self.
For the energetic self, working to build strength in the torso is about bringing the first 4chakras in alignment and balance, so that we can create a sense of equilibrium before moving to higher energetic fields.
Start in chaturanga. Open the chest by bringing your shoulder blades close to one another and your shoulders away from your ears, elbows bent and hands firmly on the ground. Keep your legs straight and parallel to one another, toes on the ground, stretching the soles of the feet and your head looking downwards to keep the spine in alignment- cervical spine is straight. Engage your abdomen.
Inhale and extend your arms bringing your upper body body upwards in kumbhakasana/plank pose, keeping the same alignment as in chaturanga. Engage your abdomen and feel the fire from the solar plexus chakra, located just above the belly button.
Inhale and turn to one side in vasishtasana, stack both feet together to the side and bring your balance on one arm, lifting the other up. Both arms should be in vertical alignment and turn your head towards the arm that’s extended upwards. Continue to engage your abdomen and the pelvic area, where the sacral chakra is located (between the pubis and the tail bone. Continue to keep your chest open, activating the heart chakra, located in the middle of the chest.
To release, come back to plank. Take a deep breath in, find your balance and exhale back in chaturanga. Repeat this sequence 2-3 times, holding each asana for 1-2minutes.